Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 8 > Issue 1

Legislative Responsiveness to Gerrymandering: Evidence from the 2003 Texas Redistricting

James Lo, University of Mannheim, Germany, lo@uni-mannheim.de
Suggested Citation
James Lo (2013), "Legislative Responsiveness to Gerrymandering: Evidence from the 2003 Texas Redistricting", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 8: No. 1, pp 75-92. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00012073

Publication Date: 01 Jan 2013
© 2013 J. Lo
Representation,  Electoral institutions,  Legislatures


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In this article:
1 Background of the 2003 Texas Redistricting 
2 Redistricting as a Natural Experiment 
3 Conclusion and Discussion 


Do legislators respond to congressional redistricting? A central tenet of American legislative scholarship over the last 20 years argues that members of Congress maintain consistent ideological positions throughout their tenure, and thus do not generally adapt their voting records to changes in the electoral environment. In contrast, a second literature argues that legislators are predominantly motivated by electoral incentives through an electoral connection, forcing them to adapt to the shifting environment as agents of the electorate. In this research note, I test these competing theories using data from the 2003 Texas redistricting. Despite being treated to a targeted gerrymander subjecting them to extreme electoral pressure, I find little evidence of ideological adaption in the voting records of eight Democrats that were targeted for defeat. My results thus confirm the earlier findings of Poole (2007) and have broader implications for the study of political representation and polarization.